‘To take focus off Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi crown prince tried to persuade Israel to start war in Gaza’, says report

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman tried to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to start a war in Gaza to take the focus off the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Middle East Eye reported on Tuesday.

Khashoggi entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife. He was not seen since.

Saudi Arabia has admitted that the Saudi critic died in a premeditated murder inside its Istanbul consulate – after weeks of consistent denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance.

Turkish media have reported Khashoggi was killed and dismembered based on recordings from the consulate. They say he died at the hands of a 15-member assassination squad from Saudi Arabia.

ALSO READ: Crimes against Journalists: Who was Jamal Khashoggi and what his killing means for press freedom

According to sources that spoke to the website, a war in Gaza was one of the measures the kingdom considered to have international attention shift away from Khashoggi case.

The sources added that other options included bribing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by buying military equipment from Turkey.

Meanwhile, US lawmakers may push for a crackdown on Saudi Arabia after the Khashoggi incident and the war on Yemen.

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Senate could vote before the end of the year on a resolution seeking to cut off all assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen.

ALSO READ: ‘Tell your boss deed is done’, Khashoggi assassination squad member’s phone recording reveals: Report

He said it was also possible that measures to prevent arms sales to Riyadh would make it to the Senate floor.

“Senators are looking for some way to show Saudi Arabia the disdain they have for what has happened with the journalist, but also concerns about the way Yemen has gone,” said Corker.

Corker said his staff had asked that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and CIA Director Gina Haspel come to the Capitol as soon as late November for a classified briefing to address concerns about Yemen and Khashoggi’s death.

It has been reported the CIA director has listened to the audio recording of Khashoggi’s killing.

ALSO READ:  ‘I’m suffocating…I’m claustrophobic’ were Jamal Khashoggi’s last words, says Turkish reporter

Moreover, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser has said that people who have listened to an audio recording of the killing of a Saudi journalist did not think it implicates Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

John Bolton told reporters at a summit in Singapore that he has not personally listened to the tape. But he says those who have do not think it links Khashoggi’s death to the crown prince.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he shared the audio recordings with Saudi Arabia and other nations, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Canada.

ALSO READ: “Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy,” say sons of killed Saudi dissident journalist Khashoggi

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